Usually purchased in Israel at deli counters or in tubs at the supermarket, this ubiquitous salad is easy to make yourself. Lightly tossed with a lemony dressing and a small amount of mayonnaise, Israeli red cabbage salad is salty-sweet and makes frequent appearances on dinner tables, and, of course at cook-outs.Yum
At restaurants, you’ll get salatim—an opening course of varied, delicious salads, dips, and spreads eaten with pita or other breads. At home, at dinner, there’s also a course of salads, less though still varied, served out of jars and deli tubs alongside eggs, Israeli salad, and black bread. And chief among those homey salads, probably purchased at the grocery store, is this Israeli red cabbage salad. (One of the recipes I looked at while developing it, by the popular Israeli food blogger Krutit, promises that it’ll come out “exactly like the supermarket version“!) The homemade version is almost as easy as buying it, but even better. It last a good while in the fridge and is perfect alongside grilled meats, too.
The secret to this simple salad is in its sweet-saltiness, which lies in a balance of fresh lemon juice and brown sugar. Then, just a touch of mayonnaise binds everything together in a slightly creamy finish. The brown sugar especially shines here, adding caramel notes.
You can shortcut this salad by buying bagged pre-shredded red cabbage, although the cabbage will be more tender and tastier if you take the trouble to shred it yourself. You could do this with a plain chef’s knife, a mandoline cutter (if you’re not me and capable of using the thing without removing a fingertip), or, my personal preference, the slicing disc in a food processor.
Other than slicing the cabbage, it’s just a matter of shaking up the dressing and pouring it over the salad. You can serve the salad right away or let it marinate for a few hours in the refrigerator before serving.